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Home routers vulnerable due major OpenSSL bug

Posted at 09 April 2014 14:01 CEST by Jan Willem Aldershoff

Not only servers but also home routers are vulnerable due to the Heartbleed bug in encryption software OpenSSL. Unfortunately consumers are often unable to test whether they are vulnerable or not, according to security experts.

myce-opensll-heartbleed

The Heartbleed bug is a serious vulnerability in the popular OpenSSL cryptographic software library. This weakness allows stealing the information protected, under normal conditions, by encryption used to secure the Internet. OpenSSL provides communication security and privacy over the Internet for applications such as online banking, credit-card payments, instant messaging  and more.

On affected systems anyone connected can read the memory of the systems running the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software. This way they are able to compromise encryption keys, usernames and password and everything else stored in memory.  Attackers can also eavesdrop on communication, steal data and impersonate services and users.

Servers owners are advised to update the affected OpenSSL software but consumers have to depend on security patches released by router manufacturers.  Although servers are more attractive to hackers, malware developers might also be interested in attacking home routers. 

Most consumers will be unable to check whether their router uses the vulnerable OpenSSL version. It’s up to the manufacturer of the router to make an update available. Fortunately home routers are less easy to reveal sensitive data as they contain less memory. Nevertheless, security experts recommend consumers to disable the remote management feature of their router. 

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There are 5 comments

roadworker
MyCE Resident
Posted on: 09 Apr 14 14:18
    Remote management disabled,no SIDD broadcasting,no wireless connections allowed from unapproved mac adresses en I change my router settings only via LAN......not much more else I can do as home user....
    Wombler
    Administrator & Reviewer
    Posted on: 09 Apr 14 14:29
      Quote:
      Originally Posted by roadworker
      Remote management disabled,no SIDD broadcasting,no wireless connections allowed from unapproved mac adresses en I change my router settings only via LAN......not much more else I can do as home user....
      That's pretty much all you can do and enable the strongest encryption your router supports as well as strong passkey.

      Nothing's immune though as non-broadcasted SSIDs can be discovered with the right software and MAC addresses can be spoofed.


      Wombler
      DrageMester
      Retired Moderator
      Posted on: 09 Apr 14 19:03
        Quote:
        Originally Posted by Wombler
        Nothing's immune though as non-broadcasted SSIDs can be discovered with the right software and MAC addresses can be spoofed.
        Yes, these two settings won't keep hackers out but they can be a p.i.t.a. for legitimate use, so it's a bit like scratching your things so that thieves don't want to steal them - you're mostly punishing yourself.
        Matth
        MyCE Resident
        Posted on: 10 Apr 14 01:12
          With decent (WPA2) security the old myth security measures are pointless, and without it, they are of dubious effectiveness.

          If your router SSID is unbroadcast, clients have to "connect even when not broadcast" which makes it easier to hijack a client as the SSID they are looking for is easily detected. I'd also much rather the router "marks my channel" as I try to avoid clashing and hope other intelligent users would do likewise.

          Mac filtering is also possible to evade by spoofing.

          At best, those measures may deter a casual prober or a guest who has been given the key but who you no longer wish to have access
          Seán
          Senior Administrator & Reviewer
          Posted on: 10 Apr 14 01:43
            Quote:
            Originally Posted by Wombler
            MAC addresses can be spoofed.
            I remember hearing about hackers doing this to hijack paid Wi-Fi acess over unencrypted Wi-Fi. Basically, the way most paid Wi-Fi networks work (e.g. at airports, hotels, etc.) is that when someone buys an hour of access or logs in with a prepaid voucher/account, the Wi-Fi provider recognises the paying user by its MAC address. Once the user is logged in, a hacker just needs to sniff the network for Internet traffic (e.g. browsing Google, Facebook, etc.) and check the MAC addresses used for that data, then spoof the MAC address on their laptop to get Internet access.

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